As a person who is not a big fan of children…or parenting…or growing up in a general sense, I tend to enjoy movies that choose to circumvent, poke fun at, or point on certain absurdities found in those social constructs. Call me mean or crass but I take enjoyment wherever I can. Bad Moms, directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, proves to be such a movie and I greatly enjoyed it even if the ending does feel a lot like a cop-out. Still, in spite of that, this film has a lot going for it from a casting perspective as Katheryn Hahn, Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis have a load of on-screen chemistry and play off of each other perfectly.
Amy (Mila Kunis) has a great husband, overachieving children, beautiful home and successful career. Unfortunately, she’s also overworked, exhausted and ready to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other stressed-out mothers (Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn) to get away from daily life and conventionall responsibilities. As the gals go wild with their newfound freedom, they set themselves up for the ultimate showdown with PTA queen bee Gwendolyn and her clique of seemingly perfect moms.
This movie can be compared to a lot of fairly recent comedies. In a lot of ways it is like The Hangover, Bridesmaids, and Office Space were thrown in a pot and what came out was Bad Moms. This is both good and bad, good in the fact that the comedy hits hard and fast in a lot of cases and stays enjoyable through its entire runtime of 101 minutes. Bad in the fact that there is very little unique in this film– similar settings, themes and jokes that can be found in other films can be found here and no amount of solid execution can change that fact. In the same way The Hangover pandered to the ‘bro-crowd’– Bad Moms positions itself to the female crowd and even to the ‘mother-crowd’ in many respects except for the fact that a lot of the jokes will definitely leave the more conservative moms with their jaws dropped.
Bad Moms explores the idea of what would happen if a single mom who shoulders all the burden or raising her two kids and making sure everything in their life if perfect, decides to just…well…stop. What if she starts doing things for herself– unshackling herself from the perfect suburban motherhood, she would no long have to worry about bake sales, bringing her kids to soccer practice or helping them do their homework (and much much more). What ensues is some serious hilarity and the main characters, played by Kunis, quickly figures out that giving up her duties doesn’t make life quite so grand. As things get more complicated– she has to choose how she wants to move forward.
The fact that the writers of the movie chose to go with 3 leading ladies was actually a really good choice for the film as each girl represents a certain archetype that woman can latch on to. And if for some reason you don’t find yourself liking one of them, there is a whole slew of other female characters that you can find, at the very least amusing. All three girls were perfectly cast together and while I was partial to Kristen Bell’s portrayal of a stay-at-home mom who finds her wild and strong side for the first time in her life, mainly because I find Bell to be adorable and the fact that she tries to act even a little bad ass melts my heart, I can definitely see why people might just fall in love with Kathryn Hahn in this film. She plays an extremely direct, and aggressive cougar who is rude and bad ass and she steals nearly every scene that she is in. In fact, I might argue that Bell and Hahn definitely outshine Kunis in this movie…
The downside of this film is that is extremely predictable and you can call, nearly beat for beat, where the film is headed. This isn’t a writing issue so much a thematic one. Honestly this movie is no different from any standard teen flick that attempts to take down the school bully, principle or vice president. In reality, the only thing that changed is the age bracket– instead of teens going after an adult or upperclassmen, it is the parents who are going after the head of the PTA board who wields some extremely unrealistic power. But the only thing that outshines this films predictability is the cop-out of an ending. Don’t get me wrong– sometimes a neat ending feels good– but this movie attempts to wrap everything in an overly-neat little bow that it is eye-roll worthy. It is so overly neat that it nearly undermines everything that happened earlier in the film just to make everything work out.
The bottom like is that Hahn, Bell and Kunis deliver a lot of laughs in Bad Moms. Obviously, don’t expect the film to be ground-breaking– but let’s be honest–in this day and age, what comedy IS truly unique? If you’re a mom, parent, adult or just someone who wants some laughs or to see a group of women do some crazy things, Bad Moms is the right film for you. The plot, at the end of the day, is very predictable with little to no twists or turns and the ending is rather lame– but as long as you don’t let those things diminish your sense of humor you are golden.